More than 2,000 fish were flung into Lake Baron on Thursday, as members of the Moose Lodge prepare for the 12th annual Kids Fishing Derby.
Each year, Lake Baron is stocked with thousands of fish so children under 16 years old can take their shot at catching them. The free derby begins at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 22 at Tahoe Paradise Park in Meyers.
“For a lot of kids it’s their only opportunity to go fishing,” Moose Lodge Administrator Barry Keil said.
This year, the lake was filled with non-reproductive Triploid Trout, which weigh about 1 pound each, Park Manager Steve Dunn said.
Each child at the derby can take up to five fish, and prizes are given at the end of the day, or about 3 p.m.
The child with the biggest fish will receive a $100 prize, followed by a $50 prize for second place and a $25 prize for third place.
About 500 kids are expected to attend the event, organizers said. Fishing poles, tackle, power bait and worms will be available free of charge to children without fishing equipment.
Keil said the event has been popular among the county’s youth, and he still remembers a picture of a young girl at the derby baiting her first hook.
“The expression on her face?” he said. “Priceless.”
Flip Walker, governor of the Moose Lodge, said the derby is a great community event.
“It actually brings the community together,” he said. “And for us living in the mountains, it reminds us why we’re here. It teaches kids to appreciate the outdoors.”
The 12th annual Kids Fishing Derby, funded by donations and the Moose Lodge, is sponsored by several local organizations including the El Dorado County Fish and Game commission, South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club, Tahoe Paradise Park, El Dorado Savings Bank, Lira’s Market and more.